West Nipissing strikes down bylaw to outlaw smell of cannabis

Pot smokers everywhere can exhales a smoky breath of relief as the smell of cannabis will not be outlawed in West Nipissing.

Pot smokers everywhere can exhales a smoky breath of relief as the smell of cannabis will not be outlawed in West Nipissing, according to CBC. On Tuesday, the proposed bylaw that would have required cannabis growers to control the odour of their plants was voted down.

"People are going to have to get used to the smell of cannabis. The same way we got used to the smell of asphalt and traffic and cars and stuff," said West Nipissing councillor Jeremy Seguin. "It's going to stink at first and some people may not adjust to it very quickly."

Seguin referred to the bylaw as a "preemptive attack" targeted at "demonizing" the smell of cannabis, warning that should it be passed that it would only result in legal challenges which "could be very expensive" for the municipality.

The idea for the bylaw was first proposed by Councillor Lise Senecal two weeks earlier. "You cannot tell people 'Well, deal with it.' Because that's not the way it's working," she explained to council, saying the rights of everyone must be respected.

Senecal believed that the bylaw was in the same vein as littering or noise regulations. She said the bylaw would help to "avoid major confrontation in a neighbourhood." Senecal cited a a recent trip to a Sturgeon Falls neighbourhood where she said that the odour was strong enough to give her a "buzz," a comment she would later regret.

"I really got bashed on that [comment] and I want to apologize," reflected Senecal on Tuesday. "It was an expression to express how strong the smell was that night."

The Mayor of West Nipissing, Joanne Savage was in favour of Senecal's proposal although she would have given municipal bylaw officers "some type of leverage," treating each complaint individually regarding cannabis odour. "And if it's never applied, it's never applied," said Savage.

In the last year, West Nipissing municipality received four complaints regarding the smell of cannabis.

"I regret this has caused pain and anguish to certain citizens of our community and therefore cannot and will not support this bylaw," said Councillor Dan Roveda, who said he felt misled by how the issue was first presented two weeks ago.

Some councilors noted interest in how the provincial or federal government might regulate the situation.